The Rola Bola Stack made "easy"!

as taught by
teachers of juggling, unicycling, stilt walking, and rola bola skills.

Learn Build Jump Stack FAQ

Step 1 (on a standard rola bola)

Penguin Stand on a standard rola bola

If you learned to rola bola on carpet, or with grip tape, you will need to re-learn without them to learn the stack.

If you do not already know the "Penguin Stand", master it. The Penguin Stand is with the feet at right angles to the roller on a standard rola bola. Do not use your toes/heels for balance - keep the board level. Think of pushing/pulling the board with your feet. The feel of this is very alien to the standard rola bola. Please start near a suitable support or spotter. Learn it with the board in the normal set-up, then turn the board parallel to the axis of the roller and get comfortable.

You can rotate the board 20° to 40° at a time on the roller. Un-weight the board (jump without losing contact) and turn the board with your feet. Regain your control and continue in steps through a full rotation. Optionally learn to juggle if you wish to be able to on the stack.

This trick is an excellent base to learn the chair walkover. Learn the Penguin Stand with your feet placed on the rola bola like they will be on the chair.

Step 2 ~ Basic concepts

Note: the roller can squirt out with great velocity. Have a clear area with approximately a 10′ radius.

The stack is actually easier to ride than the Penguin Stand. It is much more difficult to mount.

There are two types of rola bola stacks, a two tube stack and a three tube stack. Both types have only two rollers rolling, one fore and aft, one left to right. Four or five rollers only increase the wow factor (and how much stuff you have to lug around) - not the difficulty.

Now you are ready to begin to learn the stack. The two tube stack is the most difficult because of the very small contact area - really a point. It is the safest as you can ride it down to a single roller. This feels exactly the same as a jump mount which you should have already mastered. A three tube stack has one rolling fore and aft (typically on the floor), one standing vertically, one rolling left to right, and the board on top. The greatly increased contact area resists the tendency of the upper roller and board to twist. Once you develop the proper technique, twisting will no longer be a problem. On a three tube stack, an unplanned dismount requires you to lift your feet allowing the junk to find its own way, then place your feet on an open spot on the floor. That is more intuitive than it sounds.

Step 3

One foot on the two tube rola bola stack - side view One foot on the two tube rola bola stack - front view Both feet on the two tube rola bola stack - front view Both feet on the two tube rola bola stack - side view

Center your foot on the board. Hold the stack firmly against the spotter′s board to stabilize it as you step up. Keep as much of your weight on your hands as you can. Lightly place the trail foot on the board at the shoulder width point. Placing almost all your weight on your hands, hop the other foot to the other shoulder width point - breathe.

Move your hands to the spotter′s shoulders and stand up straight. Drift the stack slightly back from the support to get a feel of the technique. Lighten your death grip on the spotter′s shoulders and have them move their board back a few inches. Release from the support and straighten up the rest of the way. Get your eyes up, it will help your posture and plane of reference. Spotter: Always keep the board in front of your shins as you slide back.

Archival picture of the author doing a four tube stack playing up how dangerous it is.

Your feet will move in an ellipse while riding the stack. The long axis will be left to right, the short axis will be fore and aft. If you realize you are about to go off of a roller, take your weight off the board to minimize shooting a roller at your spotter/audience.

Like the circus rola bola act that is always on a high platform, additional rollers are not increasing the difficultly or the likelihood of a mistake, only the consequences.

© Still Having a Ball ~ 2009

Learning to balance on the chair preparatory to the walkover.

Chair Walkover (after Penguin Stand mastery)

Learn Build Jump Stack FAQ